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Rene Mendez sworn as new City Manager for Salinas

SALINAS, Calif. (KION-TV) -- UPDATE ON MAY 28, 2024 AT 6:28 PM- After six months without a city manager, the City of Salinas has a new city manager in charge.

Former Watsonville City Manager Rene Mendez was officially sworn in on Tuesday morning. Mendez is taking over for Steve Carrigan who was removed by the Salinas City Council in October 2023.

Since then, Jim Pia has been serving as an interim city manager.

Mendez steps into the position with multiple leadership changes including the resignation of councilmember Steve Carrigan and Mayor Kimbley Craig announcing she will not run for re-election.

"I got hired by seven council members and six months later I have three new councilmembers," Mendez said. "So it's part of the territory of our job and I think connecting with the council as a body, If I can stay focused there it makes it a lot easier to transition."

The City of Salinas is currently facing a $20 million budget deficit next fiscal year.

"Time can be an ally," Mendez said. "So and what I mean by that is you can have a projected deficit that you can plan for over time and I think it is important to look at things in a two to five-year window."

City of Salinas appoints Rene Mendez as City Manager

UPDATE ON MARCH 19, 2024 AT 5:35 PM- The City of Salinas officially will have a permanent city manager.

City Council unanimously appointed Rene Mendez to become the city manager for Salinas during Tuesday night's Council meeting.

Mendez is currently the city manager for Watsonville and will start his new position in the Salad Bowl Capital of the World in May 2024.

Mendez has over thirty years of government experience.

He will be taking over for interim city manager Jim Pia who has been serving in the role since Oct. 2023 when former city manager Steve Carrigan was removed from his position in October.

Original Story

The City of Salinas confirms to KION that Rene Mendez will be appointed to the role of City Manager for the city.

This is pending a vote by council members during a meeting Tuesday.

A report from the city indicates that the new city manager will not join the city until the end of May 2024.

Mendez brings thirty years of experience in state, county and local government.

He's currently the city manager for Watsonville, but previously served a similar role in Gonzales from 2005 to 2022.

"Serving this organization and its residents has been a true honor,” said Méndez. "As I set out to begin this new chapter, I take with me the lessons learned and the memories shared. I’m confident this community will continue to thrive long after my departure."

An advanced copy of the city's agenda report shows if the employment agreement is approved as it stands, Mendez will start on May 28, 2024 with an annual base salary of $300,000.

Watsonville City Staff issued a statement, saying the city is immensely grateful for René’s dedication and commitment to our City."

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Victor Guzman

Victor Guzman is the Assistant News Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Derrick Ow

Assignment Editor for KION News Channel 5/46


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